“Do you have any questions for me?”
My midwife asked me this at the end of my very first appointment. In my head, my question list was:
- Am I supposed to have questions?
- Should I have made a list?
- Do other people ask questions?
- Will I look like I’m not researching if I DON’T ask questions?
- Will I look like I’m questioning her expertise if I DO ask questions?
While it certainly isn’t a requirement that you come prepared with a list of questions for your midwife or OB, the right questions can really help you build a relationship with your care provider and help ensure that your whole birth team is on the same page. The folly comes when you ask a question like, “How do you feel about episiotomies?” Your care provider may assume from your question that you are not wanting an episiotomy and may answer your question with that in mind. Of course they want you to feel at ease about your upcoming birth and will want to reassure you that they have your best interests at heart–they do! Here is a list of open-ended questions that will help you get a better feel for your care provider’s style of practice:
- What tests do you recommend in pregnancy? Are there situations in which a person might decline some of the prenatal testing?
- When I go into labor, would you prefer that I call your office or head straight to the hospital?
- If my water breaks at home, what do you want me to do?
- What week will you want to induce labor if it hasn’t started on its own?
- What are some other reasons you might recommend an induction?
- What is your preferred method of induction?
- What is your policy on food and drink during labor? Is the hospital’s policy the same?
- At what point in my labor are you likely to arrive?
- Which labor positions are you comfortable with? Which pushing positions are you comfortable with? Are you comfortable with catching in those positions, as well?
- In what circumstances do you find it necessary to cut an episiotomy?
- Do you use forceps, vacuum, or both?
- When would you recommend a Cesarean over a vaginal birth?
- What is the sequence of events as soon as my baby comes out of my body?
- How soon after birth do you recommend cord clamping?
- What are your thoughts on oral vitamin K versus injectable?
Of course there are many more questions you might come up with, and some of these you may not even be interested in! Writing a birth plan can help you sort out the things that are most important to you. Heartland Doulas offers a birth planning session as part of our Doula Services. Birth planning is also available as a stand-alone appointment if you are not planning on hiring a labor doula.
If you find that this post has sparked more questions than answers, an unbiased, non-judgmental childbirth class might be the right choice for you. Click to learn more about Heartland Doulas’ unique Childbirth Classes.